For days, weeks, months, perhaps even a year, the idea of traveling to London, England was a distant dream for all eight of us. We read books about London. We created a Facebook group to share travel tips. Some of us even brushed up on our favorite bits of English culture by watching Harry Potter or overdosing on Jane Austen novels. So, when we stumbled through airport security at long last, after getting patted down for hair gel and other various beauty products, we could hardly contain our excitement. We kept giggling and reminding each other, “We’re going to London!”
Even still, now that we’ve been here over a week, it’s difficult to believe we made it. And really, all it took was a copious amount of caffeine, questionable airplane chicken and nine hours squished between seat 32A and the aisle. We were greeted in Heathrow Airport by a variety of different accents and languages, and after exchanging our money and lugging our bags up and down multiple staircases, we barely managed to stay awake on the subway ride to our hostel. For about two days, jet lag was our constant companion. After of our excitement before the trip, we were a bit disheartened to realize that, even though our boat tour of the Thames was beautiful, we longed to see a comfortable pillow even more.
Now that we’ve adjusted to the time difference, we’ve all found a way to fall in love with London. For us English majors, our hearts palpitated inside Charles Dickens’ house and at the British Library. Those with less literary interests are captivated by other pursuits, like the quirks of London fashion or unique British festivals. But no matter how well we adjust to this city, no matter how hard we try to fake local accents and no matter how many times we return to the European Union in the future, we’ll never forget our initial excitement about arriving in England.
–Olivia Wulf & Abby Peschges